By, Rhonda McCurry
In a season of appreciating what we have, one Kansas family says they are most thankful for the time they spend together on the show road.
Bob and Tami Weaber are Wamego, Kansas show parents. Together with their three children, Maddie, Cooper and Wyatt, the family works morning and evening on their show cattle projects then hit the road to the next great show. Both Bob and Tami grew up on Hereford cattle ranches and wanted to provide the same lifestyle for their kids. Though they don’t earn a living from ranching, the Weaber’s say showing livestock is how they teach their children the value of raising animals and how those animals provide for the food chain.
Maddie Weaber has shown Hereford and Angus cattle, as well as hogs, for two years thanks to breeders who have provided show prospects then taken ownership of breeding animals after the animal’s show career has concluded. Besides being thankful for the opportunity to show, Tami says it’s the support of local breeders who’ve provided show prospects that also means so much.
“We have a local rancher with high-school age girls that mentored Maddie her first year,” Tami says. “Maddie was bit by the show bug and now we’re into it. We show pigs too, so when those market animals are ready to be harvested, our kids learn what the food chain and the end product is all about.”
Everyone in the Weaber household has a chore to do with their show cattle and hogs. Tami says when it’s time to go to the barn Wyatt, who is four, loves to run the blower. Cooper, who’s six, is a master at scooping manure. They all attended their first National Jr. Hereford Show this summer and besides spending time together in the pickup they also formed friendships with other families. This is the kind of togetherness they can’t find in any other extracurricular activity.
“So much of showing livestock is about building character,” she says. “There are not many things the whole family will wake up at 2:30 in the morning to do other than taking cattle to a show. We work hard together all day long and it’s fun. It is a competitive event but we are helping each other and you don’t see that in any other sport.”
Tami says today’s children are busy with activities, meetings and practices that pull families in different directions. Showing livestock literally keeps her family together and builds a strong bond. She adds that even if Maddie is showing against a friend in the same class, they are still cheering for each other. Tami loves watching her children help each other in the barn and is grateful they can work side-by-side every day.
Showing cattle has also made her kids have great conversations with each other and with livestock peers. When they are in the show barn or at the State Fair the kids have her and Bob’s undivided attention, because they’re all working for the same goal.
“For us it’s a whole family thing,” Tami says. “Our kids are in sports but that’s individual for each kid. When we work on cattle in the barn there is something for each member of the family to do. I tell our kids that there may be one of us in the show ring but we are Team Weaber. We’ve all contributed to that animal’s success.”
Being thankful for showing livestock happens every day for Team Weaber. Though it’s not always easy to find time to halter break, wash heifers and clip heads, there is a sense of pride and excitement for Bob and Tami when they watch their children accomplish these tasks.
“Bob and I are both thankful to give our kids so much about what we cherished about our childhood,” she says. “Our kids now show with children of our friends that we grew up with. We see three generations of families hanging out together and that legacy is so special to Bob and I. We are grateful for the livestock industry as a whole and the camaraderie we have at shows together.”